By Roseann Petropoulos
Brain Awareness week advancing understanding about brain health and illness is March 14-20. Outreach programs will offer education and strategies to promote mental health to people of all ages.
Our brain is the control center of all activity, supporting and regulating our physical functions, thought processes and emotions. Most attribute brain function to the thinking process. The prefrontal cortex, the thinking, analytical, rational, reasoning brain allows us to function in the world.
Simultaneously, our brain supports and regulates all bodily functions. Our breath and heart allows blood to flow, with ease, to every organ, supplying the oxygen needed for well-being. Chronic stress and anxiety disturbs the ease of this flow creating disease (dis-ease) rather than ease in the body.
Additionally, our five senses contribute to our reactions in each situation, another brain function. Hearing a song arouses memories from an earlier time. Memories are stored in the hippocampus and our emotions in the amygdala. These parts of the brain intertwine memory and emotion in an appropriate, or sometimes inappropriate, response.
Excessive demands on our brain inhibits the smooth connectivity ability of our brain causing stress on us physically, mentally and emotionally.
Sleep studies show that sleep is an important factor for overall health. Four hours
of sleep rejuvenates our body while the next 3-4 hours restores, renew our brain. Deep sleep provides dreams, during which our brain processes thoughts, emotions and recycles what no longer serves us.
Scientists who study mental health, the brain, body mechanics and emotions agree learning to identify and regulate feelings is a coping skill associated with good mental health.
Brain breaks can be a form of preventive medicine. A deep breath breaks the cycle of a stressful situation, relaxing body and calming the mind. A pause gives our brains a moment to act rather than react driven by emotion. It allows us to refocus our attention generating a productive and efficient response. Our thoughts create our words, our words create our actions and our actions create our life.
Meditation calms the fluctuations of the mind. Many say they are unable to meditate because they are over-thinkers. Meditation is clearing the mind, not a blank sheet. Imagine thoughts as a movie film, one frame at a time. When projected, each frame connected creates the movie. Meditation is allowing our thoughts to come and go without creating a story. Our breath slows our thoughts allowing re-evaluation of attention and reframing our perception.
Brain breaks, with the intention to promote well-being, integrates the body-mind
connection. It is one, our mind-body and it is our choice to live in ease.
Roseann Petropoulos is a Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master/Teacher, leads workshops,
meditation groups, private sessions to guide others to access their resources for well-being and believes we are our own healers.